Sparklehorse

September 20, 2006

Mark Linkous—who records and tours under the Sparklehorse moniker—is known for being more than a little weird. Listening to Dreamt, Linkous’ first release in five years, one can conclude his rep is justified. The enigmatic multi-instrumentalist drapes his songs in mysterious sounds, and his murmured and whispered vocals barely qualify as singing. But the effect is spellbinding: Echoes of Magical Mystery Tour-era Beatles mix with idiosyncratic melodies that evoke Lou Reed and Ray Davis, and fragments of Beach Boys harmony collide with spooky strings, trippy electronics, and fuzzed-out indie rock. Underpinning it all are droney, spawn-of-Cure guitars reminiscent of Mogwai and Pinback. Hidden away in the North Carolina mountains, Linkous tracked Dreamt in his Static King studio, combining his own twangy performances with sonic contributions from Tom Waits, Danger Mouse, and the Flaming Lips’ Steven Drodz. The results are startling and addictive. (Astral)
--Andy Ellis

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